Spokane History Timeline

The Spokane Falls - Potential Power - 1887

The Spokane River and Falls have changed over the years. The Spokane Falls were altered mainly when they built the dam and then after the great fire of 1889.

Spokane Falls 1886

There were originally many small islands and large rocks in the river. Some were blasted away when the dam was built. Debris from the Great Fire of 1889 was added to make the islands bigger.

Spokane Falls were mostly used to power sawmills and flour mills. Settlers were drawn to this location because of the potential for electric power. Frederick Post came to Spokane and started the first flour mill in 1876.

Early settlers advertised that the falls could generate over 200,000 horse power during the Spring and Summer run-off. The early mills each took 250 hp to run, so they knew that lots more mills and factories could be built.

The first electric company was started in 1887 and called Edison Electric Co. It was where Washington Water Power now stands. The first house to have electric lights and hot water was J.J. Browne's house in the Browne's Addition called Strahorn Pines. The house no longer is standing. It was located where the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, now stands.

Spokane River and Falls today



The Falls are mostly known for their beauty. People love to paint and take pictures of the falls. If you go to Riverfront Park and ride on the gondola, you can go right over them.



copyright (c) 2000, Discovery School.
All rights reserved.
Report created May, 2000.
Revised: September 22, 2002; 10/4/2009
Last Modified July 27, 2011